Tom Ford’s future may now belong to Estee Lauder, but the lingering legacy of an iconic personality in the global fashion industry was evident in the ready-to-wear fall 2005 collection of his former company, Gucci.
At Vista Hall in the W Seoul Walkerhill hotel in eastern Seoul, the Korean version of the show seen in Milan earlier this year presented the familiar Gucci format. A solid black entrance led to a black hall and stage, which subsequently gave way to a black party zone, illuminated only by the Gucci logo and the Gucci bar staffed by topless bartenders with shiny, well-oiled bodies.
Whether or not the Korean fashion industry intended to pay tribute to the ghost of Ford was anyone’s guess, but even the trend-savvy Cheongdam-dong fashion crowd, after a few seasons of flirting with bright ethnic colors, resorted to the sultry black of Gucci circa 2000 ― except for a handful of the usual front-row guests, who got to wear their sponsored Gucci numbers.
The fresh addition to the Gucci installment in Korea was the Korean-American boss, William Yoon, who came to Korea in May to head Gucci Group Korea. Before taking over the Korean market with three other high-end brands, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent and Boucheron, the Korean-American executive, 42, who was trained in architecture, joined Gucci Group in London in1999 as the director of store planning for the Asia-Pacific region. A promotion in 2000 made him the assistant director of store planning for Gucci worldwide.
Local fashion professionals, especially fashion editors, have warmly welcomed the first overseas Korean to head an international luxury brand based in Korea. Mr. Yoon, who speaks fluent Korean, said he aspired to mediate between the global fashion brand and the local market, which is heavily affected by its culture and tradition.
Apart from a press presentation to introduce the Guccissima line in May, the mega fashion show last Friday was his first large-scale delivery of the new Gucci in Korea since Tom Ford bowed out last year.
The collection kicked off with a Spanish-inspired jet-black blouse matched with a Chantilly lace camisole and super-skinny stovepipe pants. Celebrity-friendly Gucci had already rented out the outfit to a buxom Korean actress to showcase the new look.
The rest of the women’s body-skimming dresses looked like another adaptation of Ford’s collection, which his successors have carried on with a bit of panache. With a score of ethereally light, draped silk gowns in vibrant lapis, silver and ebony black, the legend of Tom Ford’s Goddesses a la ’90s chic thrives into the new season.
For outerwear this winter, Gucci suggests a mahogany mink or Mongolian lamb bolero. In the department of accessories, the classic satchels bearing Gucci bridles were revamped with glossy lamination.
The Friday night event had one special feature, especially for Korean women. When Daniel Henney, the country’s heartthrob, strode into the spotlight in a tight-fitting, all-black outfit, the somber crowd erupted in cheers, a rare moment at Korean fashion shows.
The appearance of Mr. Henney, the Eurasian model turned actor who stars in a Korean drama and many advertisements, was the highlight of the evening, even at the dance party led by a New York-based DJ, Ilya.
Guests at Gucci parties used to be carried away by dozens of young, handsome, topless bartenders and semi-nude male dancers expertly contorting their sinewy limbs on stage, Chippendale-style. Not last Friday. Women gushed and sighed all night as they peered ― again and again ― into their digital cameras and mobile phones that captured the distant image of Daniel Henney in three impossibly sexy Gucci suits.